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Audiology Doctoral Student grateful for Internship with Veterans Administration

As an audiology doctoral student, I’ve had the opportunity to work in diverse practice sites all over the country in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. I currently finished a summer internship at a VA clinic in Georgia. My experience at the VA is one of my most memorable thus far. This internship allowed me to work along side six well-rounded and experienced audiologists. Here, I was able to acquire knowledge in all the areas of audiology, especially those I wasn’t as familiar with such as; VNGs, ABRs, cochlear implants, BAHAs, tinnitus management and telehealth. Not all clinic sites can provide well-rounded, hands on experience for all those areas of practice. This is why I cherish my experience at the V.A. this past summer.

I had the chance to perform my first VNG and ABR during my summer internship. I was able to get comfortable administering the tests and interpreting the results with the guidance and expertise of the vestibular audiologist. It was truly amazing to sit in and ask questions to the cochlear implant and BAHA patients. I appreciated that the patients were willing to share their journey of their use of hearing aids throughout the years and their transition to a cochlear implant or BAHA. It was satisfying and heartwarming to witness the benefit that patients with such profound hearing losses can receive via cochlear implants and BAHAs. I admire the dedication these patients have in continuing to fight to be able to hear their loved ones and the sweet sound of music. These patients make a true commitment to improving their hearing abilities and communication.

I was able to sit in on the tinnitus management group that is conducted once a month. It was amazing to see how rewarding the group was for the patients because it was informative for them and helped them develop coping strategies to manage their tinnitus. Most importantly it allowed them to be able to talk to others who were going through the same situation and not feel alone.

This summer, I was also able to see patients via telehealth. I administered fittings and follow-ups to veterans in the surrounding cities. Telehealth is huge convenience for patients and audiologists because it really allows us to broaden our reach to the veterans while saving them a long trip to a clinic. Telehealth was definitely different because it entailed having to describe every step to the nurse practitioner but it worked out really well. I’m very thankful for this experience because it brought everything together for me, especially with the knowledge I acquired in class. It also allowed me to tap into the learnings I gained from other clinic sites. This internship enhanced my confidence and assisted me in refining my fundamental skills with testing, fitting, counseling, as well as providing me with all the skills I wasn’t familiar with. It truly was a privilege to work alongside a diverse and highly distinguished group of audiologists and provide services to those have served our country.